Meyer lemon ice box pie for Pi Day

March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day. Since baking and math go hand in hand, why not celebrate Pi Day with this Southern Meyer lemon pie? Chilled and bright with a tangy citrus flavor, each piece is like a slice of summer.

Ravenous Couple
Pi Day doesn't have to be just about numbers. Take some time to make this Meyer lemon ice box pie to share today.
Ravenous Couple
Unlike the classic lemon meringue pie you don't have to cook lemon custard ahead of time for this pie; it’s frozen, which sets the lemon filling.

We’re fortunate to enjoy a winter harvest with the mild southern California weather. Our garden is full of winter vegetables such as bok choy and edible chrysanthemum, but the harvest we look forward most is our Meyer lemons. Our baby Meyer lemon tree only yielded six lemons last winter, but with more nurturing throughout the year, our tree more than tripled it’s bounty this winter.

Thought to have been crossed from a Eureka lemon and a mandarin orange, we love Meyer lemons because it’s sweeter and more fragrant then a regular lemon, without the mouth puckering sourness. While juicing them for lemonade is perfectly acceptable, we’re always trying to find other ways to maximize our harvest and the unique flavors of Meyer lemons.

That’s where this lemon ice box pie comes in. Sarah's version of this classic Southern pie at Hollywood’s new The Hart and the Hunter restaurant won us over with it’s silky smooth and tart bright flavors. Plus, the chilled texture of the pie was a pleasure to eat. We immediately went home to harvest our Meyer lemon tree and attempted to recreate the pie.

A lemon ice box pie differs from a classic lemon meringue pie in two key ways. First, you’re not cooking the lemon custard ahead of time and second, it’s a frozen pie, which sets the lemon filling and also a great way to enjoy the bright citrus flavors. There are many recipes on the Internet that use cream cheese and whipped cream topping. Our recipe is adapted from Food and Wine magazine and based on what we ate from Sarah’s creation.

This is the perfect make ahead dessert as it requires freezing at least overnight. It also stores well, at least a week if well wrapped, perfect for a daily slice of heaven or unexpected guests.

Meyer Lemon Ice Box Pie

 2 packets (14 crackers) graham crackers

6 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup sugar, divided in 1/4 portions

4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 cups fresh Meyer lemon juice (or any fresh lemon)

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 cans condensed milk

9 inch spring form pan


Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Process the graham crackers and 1/4 cup of sugar in a food processor until fine and add the melted butter and pulse until butter is incorporated. Pour into spring form pan and spread out the mixture evenly and 1/2 way up the sides to form the crust. Press a measuring cup against the side of the pan to even out the crust. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and eggs until well incorporated. Poor mixture into the pan. Whip the meringue by combining remaining 1/4 sugar and egg whites until stiff peaks form, and spoon on top of the pie, spreading evenly to seal the pie.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until top of meringue is golden brown, remove and allow to cool.

Cover well with plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight. To serve, do not defrost. Remove from freezer and run a knife around the edge of pie to release the meringue and then release the spring form pan. Run knife in hot water, slice and serve.

Optional: torch the sides of the meringue of each slice before serving. The pie will last a week in the freezer if well wrapped.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to